2007 - The report chronicles the need for a strengthened federal response to the educational challenges faced both in the Gulf Coast and nationwide, as a result of the 2005 hurricanes.  SEF examines declining student enrollments, lost school time among K-12 and college students, as well as the severe impact of the storms on regional child care systems.  It documents the inadequate federal response to the relief and recovery related to education after Katrina, and calls for a “new federal response” to restore struggling educational institutions on the Gulf Coast and to assist students whose education remains disrupted by the storms.


Major Findings of the Report:

  • In the two months following Katrina, as many as 138,000 students were not enrolled in school.  Twenty thousand to 30,000 K-12 students did not attend school at all in the 2005-06 school year.  In 2006-07 as many as 10,000-15,000 school-age children may have missed all or most days of school.
  • Schools in 49 states received displaced students after the Gulf Coast hurricanes and were ill-prepared due to a lack of funds, supplies, school personnel, and classroom space.  After Katrina, schools with displaced students reported an increase in disciplinary problems and a greater need for mental health counseling.
  • Two dozen public and private colleges and universities were closed by the hurricanes in the New Orleans area, and another five along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. 
  • Between 45,000 and 54,000 New Orleans students dropped out of college for at least a semester.  Low income students and Black college students had greater difficulty in relocating to another school.
  • In Louisiana, licensed child care centers lost more than 15,000 children after Katrina.
  • The estimated cost of hurricane-related destruction in K-12 and higher education in both states is approximately $6.2 billion, but the federal government has provided only $1.2 billion for education for this purpose.


  • Conduct a comprehensive review of needs and take appropriate action assist Gulf Coast schools.
  • Help Gulf Coast colleges in need of support for recovery.
  • Develop a plan to assist dropout students at all levels.
  • Mobilize health care professionals to help storm-affected students and their parents.

Download the report and executive summary.

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